Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Finland calls for 6G togetherness; BICS counts the 5G roamers; VMO2 switches on 5G standalone.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

February 22, 2024

4 Min Read
IoT Internet of Things technology with connected devices exchanging data on network
(Source: Chombosan/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • BT has flicked the switch on its new narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network – which the operator says covers 97% of the UK population – and is making it available to business customers. The new network, says BT, can securely connect industrial devices to automate many processes that currently require manual oversight, not least in the construction industry and in agriculture – BT has previously trialled sensors to monitor haystack temperatures, for example. Underlying it all is the EE mobile network, EE being BT's main mobile brand.

  • Finland is calling for more international collaboration on 6G research and development, inviting research organizations and system integrators to join the country's 6G Bridge program. The head of the program, Pekka Rantala, said: "As the digital transformation accelerates, cooperation across borders is crucial to unlock the full potential of 6G technologies." Finland will have a pavilion at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress, where it will be demonstrating what its various research organizations and small businesses have been up to on the 6G front.

  • Belgium's BICS has reported a 156% spike year-over-year in the number of non-standalone 5G roamers for consumer and IoT devices across its global network. Around 176 million 5G roamers appeared in 2023, up from 68 million in 2022. The data also shows a 277% rise in the number of IoT devices roaming on 5G connections generally.

  • Converged operator Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has switched on its 5G standalone network in 14 cities across the UK, from Glasgow in the north to London in the south. The new network will be available to those VMO2 consumers with compatible devices at no extra cost and customers will be able to switch between 4G, 5G or 5G standalone depending on which variant serves them best in their particular location. The rollout, claims the operator, will pave the way for it to offer dedicated, network "sliced" services such as augmented reality and advanced robotics.

  • In the mangled language that is earnings-speak, Telefónica says that its latest full-year 2023 results show that it is continuing to "execute its roadmap," as revenues rose 1.6% year-over-year, to €40.65 billion (US$44.10 billion) and OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was up 1.4%, to €13.12 billion ($14.23 billion). Telefónica Tech, the operator's digital and technology business unit, showed strong growth, with revenues rising a chunky 26.7% as its forays into nascent areas such as AI and blockchain started to pay dividends. Telefónica, by the way, turns 100 years old in 2024, so it's perhaps just as well that it has something to smile about.

  • Turkcell has announced a new content delivery partnership with US combo Cisco and Qwilt, adopting Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud for Content Delivery platform running on Cisco's edge computing and networking infrastructure.

  • Vodafone has been testing Cohere's Universal Spectrum Multiplier (USM) software on the streets of Ciudad Real in Spain in a bid to increase the capacity of its 5G networks by up to 50%. USM software allows operators to reuse bandwidth and apportion it to individual users no matter which 4G and 5G spectrum band is being used, says Vodafone. The software can be integrated at the mobile site or remotely, in the cloud.

  • The UK government has been updating on its Project Gigabit program, which is intended to bring high-speed broadband to the more remote corners of Britain. According to its latest figures, more than 1 million premises can now access better broadband courtesy of Project Gigabit. More than 5,000 of these are public buildings such schools, libraries and hospitals. The milestone pops up as two more Project Gigabit contracts are signed, covering 32,400 premises in Gloucestershire and Yorkshire.

  • Nokia has launched a new 5G outdoor mmWave receiver to add capacity to fixed wireless access (FWA) networks. The receiver can be mounted on a balcony, wall or pole and is able to switch between signal sources to ensure the best possible connection is maintained between it and the basestation.

  • Elsewhere on the 5G FWA front, Ericsson's latest ConsumerLab report reveals that seven out of ten households that opt for the technology choose it as a full replacement for whatever they were using to connect before. The study also shows that households expressed higher satisfaction using 5G FWA than fiber in terms of "service experience" (the delivery time and setting up bit), though satisfaction is on par with fiber when it comes to actual performance.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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